Distractions Are Not Going Away...Learn To Deal with Them
"I constantly procrastinate, leaving huge chunks of writing until the last minute, or sometimes until a few minutes past the last minute… Even now, on the last, easiest assignment, I left it until the last minute, and am still procrastinating. It’s 3 in the morning, and instead of consistently working on my portfolio, I’m watching a video review of a hammock. I’ve never even used a hammock. I have a serious problem in making myself do work, and even I’m not entirely sure why. Even when the work interests me, as [this class] does, and the work is important, I am still bizarrely capable of feeling absolutely no compulsion to work."
I read this quote from a student from a college class when she was asked to reflect on her use of technology. I have seen this type of distraction in my students and even myself from time to time. The only way that I can deal with the distractions of the digital age is by turning it all off...but only for a period of time.
I remember reading many articles or listening to Podcast about focus...it made perfect sense to me then, but I never seemed to learn to turn everything off. Having the other tabs open and the phone nearby didn't appear to be the real problem...it had to be a lack of my willpower right. In my mind, it was the only thing that I considered to be at blame for any scattered focus. At the time I couldn't understand why I just couldn't ignore the tabs and alerts, after all, I needed to get work done.
Just a few months ago I was accepted to grad school, and I needed focus just to get things started and then to complete the first assignments. The work was interesting, and I had fun doing it, so it shouldn't have been a problem. I have a busy style of living that I love and things are coming at me all the time. I don't find anything that I'm doing a distraction...I've planned it all for years. So why was I having such a hard time staying focused...I avoided the assignments for no real reason.
I tried my new technique. Airplane mode for the phone and "one tab" for the chrome browser. Not rocket science just planned focus. With nothing to do but that task at hand, I had no problem getting things done. For now...I'm giving the technique a try in other areas and showing my kids what I've found. It's my new secret weapon. Focus.
Aeon Article that I was pondering. Tech in the classroom